When Coahulla Creek High School student Elyza Guzman missed the first two days of her senior year, she was not extending her summer vacation. She was at Emerson College in Boston completing the final days of a highly focused, five-week program for high school musical theatre performers.
Guzman attended the college’s Acting and Musical Theatre Pre-College Studio Program on an Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative-Summer Training Scholarship through the American Theatre Wing. Yes, that is the same Andrew Lloyd Webber who brought us "Phantom of the Opera," and the same American Theatre Wing which is responsible for giving us the Tony Awards. Earning the scholarship involved a highly competitive, nationwide audition process for which she submitted audition videos, an essay and letters of recommendation from teachers and directors. The scholarship is for aspiring musical theatre performers who planned to attend a summer musical theatre intensive at a college or university.
“This program helped me ‘crack the code’ to acting,” said Guzman, who was one of only 30 students admitted into the summer program. “It was a lot of work, but it gave me the opportunity to learn more advanced acting, singing and dance techniques and I felt like it helped me solve some of the issues I had before I got there.”
Guzman participated in various acting, song interpretation, dance and movement classes throughout the program, and, at the end of the five-weeks, auditioned for admittance to the college.
“I remember the actual audition vividly,” said Guzman. “Knowing this is what I want to do for the rest of my life is exciting, but also overwhelming. It took a lot of courage for me to audition.”
For her audition, Guzman sang “I Like Him” from the musical "Drat! The Cat!," performed a monologue from the play "I Never Sang for My Father" and completed a musicianship test.
Guzman was also one of 100 students awarded an all-expense paid trip to the 20th annual Princeton University Creative Arts and Humanities Symposium earlier this month.
“Elyza had pretty much exhausted every resource for her as far as opportunity in this area,” said Coahulla Creek performing arts teacher Barry Pulliam. “It is great to know she was around those who could teach her beyond what can be taught at Coahulla so she can grow as an artist.”
Guzman has set very high goals for her future and is now preparing audition material as she is in seeking admission into several of the country’s most prestigious colleges and universities in the field of musical theatre.
Guzman should find out if she is accepted into Emerson College this December.